Basil. It’s all about the basil.
I fondly remember visiting a dear friend of Adam’s in Switzerland in 2018 and every night we harvested basil from his window sill as he prepared dinner for us. It inspired me.
After a struggle (too much water, not enough water, too much sun etc.), I got my own basil crop this summer. And it was a bumper!
Now I’m not normally a pesto fan, but with an abundance of basil I thought why not make Chicken Pesto Pasta for our family.
I searched our plethora of recipe books for a pesto recipe and settled on Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food. A gem I picked up while living in San Francisco after dining at her Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California. Alice Waters is a champion of local sustainable agriculture and is known for pioneering California cuisine using locally grown organic ingredients.
Here’s my variation of Alice Waters’ Pesto.
2 bunches of basil to yield 2 lightly packed cups
2 garlic cloves, salt
1/2 cup pine nuts lightly toasted
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 a cup good quality olive oil (I use Red Rock olives‘ extra virgin olive oil from the Grampians)
4 x chicken thighs
500gms fusilli pasta (I like the spirals as the pesto sticks to them nicely)
Using a food processor, blitz basil, garlic and toasted pine nuts before adding Parmesan. Pour in the olive oil as you blitz and season to taste.
Now you have the pesto, it’s easy.
Cook the pasta.
Dice the chicken in bite-size pieces and pan fry in oil. Add the pesto and stir through. Add the cooked pasta a spoon at a time until you have the desired pasta/sauce consistency!
Extra Parmesan to serve. We also like to serve garlic bread!
We enjoy our SubRosa Viognier with our chicken pesto pasta. Adam says that the weight of our Viognier works well with the chicken and the Parmesan and pine nuts in the pesto.
Taste-tested on a winemaker, grandfather and two growing boys.
Winemaker tip: don’t burn the pine nuts!